Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Thundarr! ...and how easy it's to play him in proto-D&D games



I love playing with rules that are older than D&D. Chirine ba Kal calls them "pre-school" rules, I prefer to call them proto-D&D, though they don't resemble D&D as most of us know it; names are smoke and mirrors, anyway. One thing that especially the old guard of roleplayers criticizes frequently is that most modern gamers read rulebooks instead of "real books" (novels, non-fiction works). I play other systems, too. But one of the many reasons why I keep coming back to proto-"D&D" is because it's so easy to turn any description of any character into a gameable asset.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

From OSR to The Indie Hack: an experiment

I'm writing several games at the moment – which, of course, results in snail-like pace in terms of progression. But that's how I'm wired, and that's that.

What I'd like to try today is to convert a character class I wrote for one of my games (Darkworm Colt, an rpg based on Into the Odd) to Slade Stolar's brilliant "The Indie Hack". Let's see how this goes.

First, the character class in its natural format:


Elven Berzerker
Feared in all the lands.
Faithful only to their savage gods.

You get: Elven Darkblade (1d8), Runes of Rage, Talking Skull of your Ancestor
Sample Names: Khorzak, Yonkath, Urhuuz, Gorgo, Rilukk, Bolar

What do you know about yourself?

HP
1
Rage is the gods‘ gift, so when you fight, there are no survivors. Ever. Make WIL save to stop the slaughter when there are still beings left. Failure doubles the damage you inflict.
2
Cold smile. Successful WIL test with Advantage to intimidate.
3
That tattoo on your forehead might be a demon.
4
Blood is life, so drink it from the skulls of your enemies. Regain d4 hp.
5
If anyone ever knows your true name, they gain the power to give you one order – once. 
6
You fight better with blades. Roll with Advantage for damage.


How would this look like in The Indie Hack?

Like so:




The Elven Berzerker 

You are feared in all the lands. The only ones you are faithful to are your savage gods.

Questions (answer 2): What is it your gods demand? What have you done to be feared? Who was the mightiest opponent you have ever sent to the Cold Realm?

Class Attributes: Tough [+1], Precise [0], Clever [-1]

Natural Aptitudes (choose 1): Intimidate, Endurance

Positive Details:
- Master of Blades (you can fight with any kind of blade) 
- Blood Drinker (Spell: drink some of the blood of a slain enemy and remove one hard detail) 
- Rage (Skill: Roll Clever challenge to stop fighting when there are still living beings near you; if you fail this challenge, you have to continue fighting, and you inflict double negative details till there is nobody left) 

 You start with: Elven Darkblade (Lifeless /5), Talking Skull of your Ancestor (Mute /3)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

OSR Alternative Combat Rules, final version

  • Each combatant rolls (Level)d6. 
  • Estimate the power of monsters and npcs: What Level equivalent do they have? 
  • If you’re a melee fighter, add 3d6 in melee.
  • If you’re ambushing someone, add 3d6 for your first round of combat.
  • If you’re a ranged fighter, add 3d6 in ranged combat.
  • If you’re using magic in melee, add 3d6 in melee.
  • If you’re using magic from a distance, add 3d6 in ranged combat.
  • Aggressive monsters do so, as well.
  • Add 1d6 for any other advantage you can directly use in combat.

Roll your dice against the opponent’s dice. Look for the single highest die. Compare with the opponent. If you’re higher, the opponent loses 1d6. If there’s a draw, look for the next higher die and follow the above steps. The GM might decide the loss is higher than one die if the opponent has rolled a lot of high numbers.

The side with zero dice left is defeated. The winner decided what happens to the loser.

Optional Critical Hit Rule: Add the highest die and multiples (e.g., if you roll 3 sixes, add them together). If your number is at least 3 times as high as your opponent’s, they lose 1d6 dice.

When two or more characters are fighting as a team, combine all of their dice and roll them. Huge piles of dice! Yay!

Standing at the Black Gates
When you’re dying you catch a glimpse of what lies beyond the Black Gates of Death’s Kingdom (the DM will describe it). Then roll (just roll, +nothing—yeah, Death doesn’t care how tough or cool you are). On a 10+, you’ve cheated Death—you’re in a bad spot but you’re still alive. On a 7–9, Death himself will offer you a bargain. Take it and stabilize or refuse and pass beyond the Black Gates into whatever fate awaits you. On 6-, your fate is sealed. You’re marked as Death’s own and you’ll cross the threshold soon. The GM will tell you when.


Combat example:
Yasuo, a 4thlevel crabman barbarian, strong as an ox, charismatic but dull. In a seedy tavern in a backwater town, one of the local brawlers has challenged him to a fight. 
Yasuo: 4thlevel = 4d6; he’s a fighter, so +3d6 = 7d6. He is strong as an ox, that’s an advantage in combat, so he gets an additional d6 = 8d6. His shell is roughly the equivalent of plate armor, that’s another advantage, for a total of 9d6. Crab-men can only use their claws, but they’re enormously powerful: +1d6. Yasuo rolls 10d6.

The brawler: I give him the experience of a third-level being, so 3d6. This guy knows his way around a good tavern brawl, so he’ll get an additional d6, for a total of 4d6. He’s wielding a huge dagger, that’s worth another d6. The brawler rolls 5d6. Poor boy.

I decide to use the optional critical hit rule, as well.
Yasuo rolls: 2,2,2,3,3,3,5,6,6,6. Total of highest dice = 3x6 = 18.
Brawler rolls: 3,4,4,6,6. Total of highest dice = 2x6 = 12.
Brawler loses 1d6 and now has only 4d6 left.

Yasuo rolls: 1,1,2,3,3,3,4,4,5,5. Total of highest dice = 2x5 = 10.
Brawler rolls: 3,4,4,5. Total of highest dice = 2x5 = 10. 
A draw.

Yasuo rolls: 1,1,2,2,3,4,5,5,6,6. Total of highest dice = 2x6 = 12.
Brawler rolls: 3,4,4,5. Total of highest dice = 1x5 = 5.
Brawler loses 1d6 and now has 3d6 left. 

Yasuo rolls: 2,2,2,2,3,4,5,6,6. Total of highest dice = 2x6 = 12.
Brawler rolls: 1,2,2. Total of highest dice = 2x2 = 4.
Yasuo’s total is at least 3 times as high as Brawler’s, so Yasuo lands a critical hit. Yasuo rolls 1d6 to determine how many dice Brawler loses: 2. Brawler has only 1d6 left. I think it’s safe to say he surrenders before Yasuo might kill him.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Alternative Combat rules for OSR games and other level-based rpgs

(Taking inspiration from Risus)
Each combatant rolls (Level)d6. Adjucate monsters and npcs: What Level equivalent do they have?
If you’re a fighter, add 3d6. Aggressive monsters do so, as well.
Add 1d6 for any other advantage you have in combat.
Roll your dice against the opponent’s dice. Look for the single highest die. Compare with the opponent. If you’re higher, the opponent loses 1d6. If there’s a draw, look for the next higher die and follow the above steps.
The side with zero dice left is defeated. The winner decides what happens to the loser.
One huge PLUS of these rules is you won't have to look up anything, and you can combine all dice of all party members and roll them in one huge pile, T&T-style 

Optional Critical Hit rule: Add the highest die and its multiples together and compare to your opponent's. If your number is at least three times as high, the opponent loses 1d6 dice.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pink Mohawk Risus: Shadowrun with Risus (complete game in pdf)

In June 2016, I published my free Pink Mohawk Risus game. When I went offline for a while, I deleted my old blog, and all content along with it.

Today, I decided to make that game available again. It sticks as close as possible to Shadowrun 1st edition, but it's still as simple and fast as any Risus game should be. Have fun.


A walk through our house, in Risus

The Entrance of Dreaded Narrowness (3) -- Laundry Room of Poo of Babies (3) -- Office of Beautiful Pendants (3)
Staircase into The Light (2)
The Living Room of Cluttered Chaos (4) -- The Kitchen of Strange Smells (4) -- Restroom of Claustrophia (4) -- The Room of Laughing Giant Toddlers (4) -- Energetic Bedroom of Lost Sleep (4)
Staircase into The Light (2)
The Office of Living Stacks of Paper (3) -- Restroom of Female Toiletries (3) -- The Roof Deck of Eternal Sunshine and Much Needed Alcohol (4)